Council of Elders
It's a Southwest Missouri phenomena. Every small town in our region has one - a place where community elders meet to commune over coffee. Many will linger all day until the sun goes down. They bring knowledge of the community with them and discuss family events and local politics over their steaming caffeinated elixirs.
Several years ago I use to travel across the state once a week. I would hit the four corners. Starting from Branson, east to the Mississipi, north through St. Louis, west to Kansas City then south to my home back in Branson.
Two hobbies of mine are caving and fishing. In every little country town along the way that I stopped at while heading towards Missouri's metropolitan centers I'd stop and talk to the city's "council of elders." They're like walking encyclopedias of local history, geography, politics and people. They seem to always know the best fishing spots and if they can't help you with an answer to a particular curiosity, they know off the top of their head where you can find the answer. In the Branson/Hollister area the place is Ye English Inn.
The photo above is part of Branson's council of Elders. Before an early morning photo shoot I had the opportunity to meet with them over a $2.99 breakfast special of eggs, bacon, Hawaiian Bread toast and a dish full of Ozark politick.